Over the last decade retro has become a big selling point in the car business, from the innovative Chrysler PT Cruiser to Ford’s super successful Mustang. But while buyers may welcome vintage style, they still want modern performance and features. And Toyota is promising plenty of both with the 2007 FJ Cruiser sport-ute. It looks like a pretty cool combination, so let’s see if it turns back our clock.

Pretty cool indeed!  Whether busting out a new trail, or traveling well worn ones, the 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser is prepared for the task.  It all starts with a rugged chassis based on the 120-series Prado, a body-on-frame SUV available in Europe and Asia. Like all Toyota SUVs, ABS brakes, stability control, and traction control are standard.

An independent, double wishbone suspension up front provides for almost 8 inches of wheel travel, while a four link solid axle rear allows for over 9 inches of travel. That’s the long way around saying you can go pretty much anywhere you want in the FJ. 

While a 2-wheel drive FJ is offered, Toyota expects most buyers to go for a 4X4. And 4X4 systems will depend upon which transmission you choose.  Opt for the 5-speed automatic, and you’ll get a part time system with both high and low range; go with the 6-speed manual, and you’ll get the same full time system that’s in the 4Runner.  It consists of a Torsen limited slip center differential that sends 40% of the power to the front, 60% to the rear when unlocked, and a “trail ready” 50/50 when locked.  It also has a lower overall crawl ratio than the automatic for tight rock crawling. Both systems are available with a locking rear differential. But if the Rubicon’s on your “to-do” list, go for the stick!

Even the hardest of hardcore off-roaders still have to hit the slab at some point in time, and that’s where we came away most impressed with the FJ Cruiser. 

We were prepared for the off-road prowess, but pleasantly surprised by the on-road proficiency.  It doesn’t beat you up at all, and is actually quite comfortable.  You do sit up high, and there’s a good bit of roll, but the steering is well boosted and the overall feel is very solid and smooth. 

Under the hood, you’ll find six pistons pumping out plenty of power for any situation, whether off or on road. The 4.0-liter V6, also borrowed from the 4Runner, boasts 239 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque.  With electronic wizardry like intelligent Variable Valve timing, mile-per-gallon estimates are 17 city and 21 highway for the 4X4, and slightly better for the 4X2. 

When you reach your final destination, be it campground or campus, it’ll be time to show your ride off to your buddies, and unless they’re rolling in an old FJ40, you’ll have what it takes here as well.  The looks are certainly reminiscent of the original. With the white roof and simple mesh grille with Toyota script, it’s easy to see where the designers were going.

The overall look is tough, if a tad “cartoonish” with the triple wipers, while big fender flares give a hint at serious wheel articulation from the 32-inch tires mounted on 17-inch rims. 

Other retro design elements include the wrap around rear window glass and rear-mounted full size spare with off-center license plate mounting. 

Toyota maintained a retro feel in the interior as well. But the upright surfaces don’t let classic form get in the way of modern function. Standard features include tilt-wheel, 8-way adjustable driver’s seat, air conditioning, and power locks and windows. Curtain airbags are optional.

But enjoying the FJ all starts with getting you and your gear inside, and the old FJ40 certainly never had access this easy, with rear clamshells providing easy entrance to the rear seats. Those rear seats are suitable for two adults or three tykes. Split 60/40 they also fold to expand cargo room from 27.9 cubic feet seats up to a maximum of 66.8 cubic feet seats down. The long, almost flat, water resistant load floor is accessed from a rear door that swings open, happily, away from the curb, and has a separate lift up glass hatch.

One upgrade we recommend is the optional FJammer premium audio system. It includes 8 speakers with an available subwoofer and NXT SurfaceSound transducers that effectively turn the FJ’s entire headliner into one big speaker. It’s awesome. An off road specific dash mounted gauge package is also available.

All of this makes for one well rounded, rough-and-ready, retro rock crawler, with prices starting at $22,315 for a 4X2 automatic, while 4X4’s start at $23,495 for the manual, and $23,905 for the automatic. 

With that, the 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser should leave enough money left over for the necessary provisions for your next adventure, be it to the Grand Canyon, or to the grandparents.




  • Engine: 4.0-Liter V6
  • Horsepower: 239
  • Torque: 278 Lb Feet
  • EPA: 17 MPG City/ 21 MPG Highway